Special to the Tribune-Star
The Middle East has added another bonfire to an area that’s as dry as the prairie grass in August. Israel is not going to allow its country to be rocketed at will. While the rockets were being fired by Hamas, it was not meant to truly harm the cities of Israel … Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, etc.
This was a test. Hamas would fire the rockets, close range rockets, and the people who are watching are Iranian intelligence services. They, themselves, cannot do this because it would bring the wrath of the Israeli Air Force down upon them. So they have their terrorist surrogates, Hamas, to test out Israeli missile defenses.
They call it “Iron Dome,” but it has been very good knocking a heavy percentage of the Hamas missiles out of the air. In the meantime, the Iranians are watching. They wish to know how many of their medium-range missiles, or you could call them short-range ICBMs, are going to be knocked out of the sky by Israeli forces.
Israel has taken our USA Patriot missile system and improved on it. They did that to French aircraft as well as American and British tanks they purchased, and now they have done it to a missile system that appears to be very good. It was a test the Iranians would like to have run, but Hamas could, and they have. Now, the question has to be what will the new government of Egypt do when the Israeli tanks begin to roll into Gaza.
Chances are, Jordan, which has a very vulnerable monarchy, will not do much of anything. Syria has its hands full with an open rebellion, so the new government in Egypt is the question mark. Its president, once a leader of a Muslim brotherhood, has said he favors Hamas in Gaza. Personally, I doubt they will do anything. This government is new, does not need to get its army bloodied by Israeli fire power, and does not want to lose the peace treaty with Israel because it guarantees American money will keep coming to Egypt. It is money that Egypt needs.
So, the only firecracker in this tender box called the Middle East is Iran. Unless something strange occurs, and it could, Iran will lose its ally Syria to this current rebellion. That doesn’t leave too many friends for Iran in this cauldron of politics, intrigue, and war in the Middle East.
Israel knows that if it goes in with its army and crushes everything in front of it, it will bring down world opinion upon this Jewish state. The Israeli people, the Israeli government, even hard-headed Netanyahu does not want that.
So, Hamas has done the bidding of its Iranian patrons and tested the missile defense of Israel. Will that be enough for the religious-led government of Iran or will they quit now that they have done what they were asked to do. Iran will not be happy until they can belly-up to the table with all the other powerful countries of the world. It will be, perhaps not in name, greater Persia. That’s precisely what they are aiming for.
Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.